It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year and while we know it feels like it’s too soon to mention office Christmas parties trust us, it isn’t. We’ve had people book their Christmas parties with us as early as January, just to make sure they can have the date they want before anyone else gets in and books it.
While we know that not everyone will want to be quite so prepared, it does make sense to give some early thought to hosting your Christmas party. We’re going to share some of the key things that we believe you’ll need to factor into your festive planning today, we hope you find them useful and that they save you a headache or two!
Picking Your Date
Lots of dates for November and December will be snapped up very quickly so if you haven’t already booked your party we recommend making enquiries soon. If your heart, or your bosses, is set on a weekend party you’ll need to act fast as lots of places have already filled their quota for Friday and Saturday bookings. You might have better luck booking a Wednesday or Thursday but those will fill up soon too so time really is of the essence.
If your work Christmas party has obligatory attendance it’s only fair to give people lots of notice of the date. The festive season is the busiest time of the year for party invitations and you’ll need to take this into consideration when planning your event. It’s likely that each of your guests will have multiple invitations coming to them and they’ll have to decide which event to go to. There’s a lot to be said for getting your invitations out before anyone else and being the first person that people respond to.
Christmas Party Tips
If you’d like to know our best tips for planning your event, check out this recent post packed full of event planning tips.
While those tips will be useful, planning a Christmas event comes with even more pressure than planning a regular event. Providing an event that lives up to people’s expectations really does take time, care and attention. It may be the one opportunity you have in a year to get everyone together and you’ll want to make sure that everybody has a great time.
There are some basics that you’ll need to know before you start planning a Christmas party. Your budget and the number of guests are two key factors that will influence the rest of your choices but they aren’t the only things you’ll need to think about.
You’ll need to know in advance what type of event you’re going to host, be that a drinks reception, a long lunch, an evening meal or a combination of any of these. You’ll also need to have a date in mind but it’s worth trying to build in some flexibility in case your preferred venue and date is already booked.
Leaving things to the last minute will cause more headaches than it’s worth, especially at a time of the year when you’ll want to minimise stressful situations. In addition to booking a venue, you’ll have other vendors to consider. If you want musical entertainment you’ll need to book musicians, singers and DJs well in advance as this is one of their busiest times of the year. It might feel like you are being over eager by booking people early but it’s much better than chasing people at the last minute and having to settle for something you didn’t originally want.
Festive and Decorative
Another consideration is whether or not the venue you book will be decorated, or if you’ll have to dress it yourself. Most venues will have enough festive decorations to satisfy your needs but we know that Christmas is a time to go all out for lots of people. If you want to bring your own decorations you’ll need to check with your venue as they may have certain restrictions about set up and take down of additional items.
We’ve hosted events where No. 25 has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland and we know how much extra time, effort and resources are needed behind the scenes to keep things running like clockwork. If you’re set on bringing your own decorations make sure to factor in lots of extra pre and post-event time to look after everything. If you do want to bring your own props along you’ll need to clear it with the venue, organise times to bring in your extra decorations, and set up a time to take everything back down again.
Decorating for Christmas can be really fun so if you’ve held onto decorations and props from previous years now is a good time to dust them off. Check that any lights are still working, that each prop has all of the necessary parts to make it work and if anything is battery powered make sure to put in fresh batteries. It’s a good idea to have a supply of spares to bring with you to your event too.
Christmas Gift Giving
Whether you’re hosting a family event or a work one you may find yourself in charge of looking after everyone’s Kris Kindle. You’ll definitely need to organise somewhere to put gifts as people arrive, you might even want to get into the Christmas spirit and have a Santa bag to distribute the gifts from.
A lot of businesses like to hold a prize-giving ceremony to round out the year at their office Christmas party. If this is something that your company does you’ll no doubt be in charge of prizes, of props, and possibly goody bags or company gifts. You’ll need to liaise with your venue to make sure you have access to bring in any additional items prior to your event and arrange somewhere to store everything until it’s needed.
Build in Some Time for Yourself
Don’t forget you’ll be getting ready to attend the event too so try to build in enough time to get everything done without putting yourself under unnecessary pressure. You might need to build in time to attend a personal appointment, be that hair and makeup or a trip to the barbers. Make sure to factor that into your event day plan so you aren’t left feeling less than festive while your colleagues sparkle in their Christmas finery.
Ending Your Christmas Party on a High Note
One of the biggest challenges with attending festive parties is the scramble for taxis at the end of an event. We’ve learned from experience that it’s often worth pre-booking cars for people so they’ll be able to get home more easily. With the changeable weather at that time of year, your guests will be very glad you thought of getting them home safely.
If a taxi home isn’t appealing and you want to stay close to your party venue there are a number of hotel deals to be had. These will fill up quickly so just like booking your venue and your vendors you’ll need to act fast if you want to take advantage of those offers. Some hotels may be open to taking group bookings if you reach out to them early enough so make sure that this is high on your event planning list if you want to arrange accommodation for your guests.
Delivering a memorable Christmas party takes time and effort but if you keep our tips in mind we’re sure that you’ll give your guests a night to remember. From planning ahead and booking things early, to choosing your perfect party date, finding the ideal entertainment, and decorating your venue, there really is nothing better than being organised to keep your event running smoothly.